Before we purchase a Daintree Rainforest property, our ecologist and botanist conducts a survey of flora and fauna. The written report then guides our decision to buy it for conservation. 

On Monday, April 22 we surveyed the vegetation at Lot 232 White Beech Road with ecologist Kristopher Kupsch. He identified a total of 129 native plant species. The most significant species found during our survey was the Daintree gardenia. 

The Daintree gardenia (Randia audasii) is a small tree endemic to Far North Queensland and produces white perfumed flowers and fruit that are orange when ripe. Its range is restricted to the area between Cooktown, Cairns, and Atherton, and it is currently listed as near-threatened under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. The main threat to the Daintree gardenia is the loss of habitat. 

Find out more about how we're working to purchase and protect Lot 232 White Beech Road in the Daintree Rainforest, and how you can help. 

Fruit and flower of Daintree Gardenia (Randia audasii)

In addition to the Daintree gardenia, one other significant species found during the survey was the local endemic plant, Daintree foambark (Jagera madida). 

Kelvin Davies inspecting the Daintree Foambark 

The Daintree foambark (Jagera madida) is a slender tree with large furry leaves. It is noticeable by the pinkish ferny new growth and its single, straight stem that seldom branches off. Its trunk is often completely covered in lichen of various shades of grey. It has close relatives in Asia and was once believed to be a subspecies of a Southeast Asian foambark, however in 2006 it was described as a separate species endemic to the Daintree rainforests. This species only occurs in the lowland rainforests between Julatten and Bloomfield. It has previously been encountered on other surveys within the Cow Bay area. Two saplings of this endemic species was identified on Lot 232. 

Another plant of interest is the brown pine (Podocarpus grayae). These trees can grow up to 30 metres tall and are found in well-developed rainforests from sea level to around 1,000 metres. Podocarpaceae is an ancient family of conifers that have their origins in the supercontinent of Gondwana.

Brown pine (Podocarpus grayae)

About the ecosystem 

The forest cover on Lot 232 is of Regional Ecosystem 7.11.5c: “Corymbia intermedia, Eucalyptus pellita, E. tereticornis, C. tessellaris, C. torelliana, open forest to woodland with Acacia celsa, A. mangium, Lophostemon suaveolens and Syncarpia glomulifera. Lowlands and foothills on metamorphics, of the wet and moist rainfall zones."

A number of canopy trees, especially E. tereticornis, possess hollow limbs which provide important habitats for gliders, possums, snakes, birds, and other tree-dwelling animals.

Beneath this sclerophyll canopy is a more diverse assemblage of closed forest rainforest species. The Queensland Government states, “In many areas the sclerophyll canopy component of this ecosystem is no longer regenerating, due to fire exclusion and the development of a rainforest understorey”. This was consistent with observations on Lot 232 and the absence of sclerophyll species regenerating in the understorey. 

The vegetation on Lot 232 White Beech Road provides core habitat for the endangered southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii). Cassowaries have been recently sighted in the adjoining Daintree National Park.

Cyclone Jasper damage 

The site has been disturbed by Tropical Cyclone Jasper which impacted the region in December 2023, five months prior to the survey being undertaken. Some of the larger trees have been uprooted, and as such, significant fallen debris exists. It's not all bad though - a tree falling in a healthy rainforest is a natural occurrence, and presents an opportunity for new specimens to grow in its place. During the survey, we could see that seed bank germination is already occurring, with many new seedlings sprouting up in damaged areas.

A note about weeds:

The entire property is free of exotic plants, except for one specimen of stinking passionflower (Passiflora foetida), that has potential to colonise and smother regenerating vegetation recovering from Tropical Cyclone Jasper. Other species are associated with the roadside and pose little risk to the core integrity of the regenerating forest.

Find out more about how we're working to purchase and protect Lot 232 White Beech Road in the Daintree Rainforest, and how you can help. 

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